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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 17, 2013 9:00am-12:00pm EDT

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coal-driven healthing system in china and replace them with geothermal transformation. in addition we also had academic relationship and other business relationship. on the whole i found the dialogue throughout my presidency to be very constructive and positive. >> given the environmental record of china, are you concerned that the agreement might open the door to an exploitation of icelandic resources by the chinese? >> no, i'm not afraid of that. we are pretty independent in iceland. [laughter] i think we can be trusted to governor our own resources as well as the -- in the negotiation with the european union our desire to control our own ocean resources.
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quite frankly, i have to admit in the many meetings i've had with chinese leader from -- i have never ever found any indication of that desire to get control where the icelandic resources. so when i am not afraid of that this will happen, and in addition we fought for our independence for over 100 years. the republican was honored in 1994. we had to fight three cold wars with the british to get control over our grounds. we're not going to surrender the rights to the chinese. i mean, don't worry about that. [laughter] >> several questions about member of the arctic council, is iceland willing to take new
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permanent participates? what do you think about application for preserver status and what about china's efforts as to be either a permanent participate or observer? >> first of all, let us realize china is not -- [inaudible] india has also applied, south korea has applied, singapore has applied. in addition a number of european countries have also applied. there is a relatively long list of countries that want to have a seat at the arctic council as permanent observers. but we still have to decide within the arctic how we move forward in this respect. unone of the reasons why we perhaps -- [inaudible] is that the arctic counsel has turned out to be in the last ten years an extraordinary successful instrument for
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corporation. let not forget that twenty five years ago that the nuclear confrontation between the united states and the soviet union. it was so overwhelming that reagan and gorbachev had to meet in my country to find a place where they could actually talk. most of us have throughout our political life been influenced by this cold war threat. and i sometimes said to my american or russian friend it would be breasting -- interesting how much expense both countries put to military build up from the arctic from the 1950s to the 1990. within a relative issue of time we have transformed a area which is among the most militarized region of the world in to one of the most successful, constructive example of
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corporation in the 21st century. one of the reasons this has happened is that the council has been sufficiently small to develop its own corporation and helped the five nordic countries that cooperated among ourselves for over fifty years where a big part of the eight within thecom there has developed a constructive culture of corporation [inaudible] more traditional international gaterring. there's a certain risk for not positive spirit and culture might not be -- [inaudible] and of course, there have to be some ground rules of the permanent observers. as my good friend candidated -- canedded he hasn't been allowed to say anything so far. he's not happy about it. and this needs some deliberation
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and also because the list of countries wanting to apply keeps on getting longer. india decided last year to apply. and now we have a situation which is kind of paradoxical. where is india and china do not cooperate on the glacier in the himalaya. they want to coordinate on the glacier in my part of the world. which might be welcome or necessary but it's somewhat paradoxical. my country and other arctic counsel countries announced we are positive forward -- toward these. we want to do it in a constructive way. >> now in your speech, you cite as evidence of global warming the unusual photograph of president obama and governor right before the election. in the united states there's a large contingent of climate change doubters. what do you say to that part of
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the tows persuade them that climate change is real? >> would be take a look at me. i'm the picture of obama and governor chris christie. [laughter] because according to the ground rules of u.s. presidential campaigns, such an embrace three days before election day was an absolute taboo. and talk to the people new jersey or new york that had their homes destroyed and their communities destroyed due to the extreme weather events. look up on the map side, the report of china in january or february. one example, just to give you a visual image is the melting of the arctic sea ice in my part of the world.
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the consequence -- [inaudible] so whether we call it climate change or not, that's a political concept, which i know has positive or negative connotations, but the ice melting is a reality. and the consequences of the ice melting in my part of the world is extreme weather in united and china. this is the overwhelming scientific evidence to include prove not just from the chinese but also from your university and research substitutes in the -- institute in the united. we can have all kinds of debate of climate change as such wng but it's a scientifically proven relationship of the melting of the arctic sea ice has seen consequences within a few months. not ten or twenty years.
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but within a few months in another part of the world. and therefore, that should be my opinion a sufficient reason to to have a serious debate. i don't care what the trademark is whether we -- these are reality which we have to deal with. a reality that many of the many of the insurance company no longer willing to take insurances policies for private homes in florida have concluded it's a serious reality. the insurance company stop being willing to insure your homes. i think that is from the business world sufficient indication that at least they think that this issue of the melting of the ice and the extreme weather is fundamental business reality.
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>> the questioner said iceland is curly in the mist -- north ward if iceland cares about climate change why has the government choose ton vastly increase the mackerel quota? >> one of the advantages of having elections in iceland is you have to know something about fish. [laughter] nobody gets elected in my country without knowing something about fish. [laughter] it's true. the mack mackerel was something we used to talk about. it was more of a kind of a mediterranean type fish. like i said before, the ice is melting, and you might be --
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whether the political establishment of different countries is willing to recognize that change on the warming of the oceans. simply ask the mackerel decided the oceans are warming. and that is why it has miewferred up to the fishing grounds. to the fishing grounds -- this is an example of what is happening to the global oceans and how the species like the mackerel is indicating the monumental change taking place. where is no ice landing fishing company ten years or so put any effort to fishing mackerel. now we have this wealthy of resource coming to our territory of waters. and the european union wants to
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-- the oceans are getting warming. they want to maintain the same borders as they had when the mackerel was closer to their own waters. but we have seen let us have science as a basis of the fishing policy. the fundamental of the icelandic viewpoint. we built up a productive fishing sector in the last thirty years by scientifically lead decisions every year -- [inaudible] we said to our partners partner dispute we should extensive research and how it plays out. so we can make sure that we tweet this in responsible way and the same way we have done with other species -- [inaudible] or harpoon. the mackerel dispute is one of the early warnings in the
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fishing in the arctic are changing fundamentally due to the warming. >> we have a lot quo on fish. the next on mammal from a 9-year-old in the audience who said she was in iceland and noticed on a lot of menus she was serving plan. she dispd there was a plan to stop hunting whales. >> we actually stopped hunting actuallies when i was a member of parking lot. -- parliament. it was one of the most heated issue. what we have done in recent years is limited and scientifically based whaling which is -- to allow us to estimate in our more rigorous way which is the state of the whaling? but traditionally in iceland
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like in alaska, part of the united, and definitelily greenland and canada, the whaling is part of the tradition of our country. i'm not sure where i'm correct, i think the whale of the government of the united states allows to be hunted on the basis of indigenous whaling is in fact bigger than we actually do in iceland. it's mostly the tourists who eat the whale which we offer in iceland. [laughter] and it's not on a big scale. it's kind of curiosity that doesn't require big whaling. so i don't think will be a threat -- i respect the feelings of many people have toward the whale, but they also are part of our marine environment and have been a part since iceland was --
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[inaudible] >> taking step back and looking for a broadly two things i've been talking about climate change and fishing. has global environmental change been benefit to iceland's fishery or a detriment? >> well, it's very difficult to an that question, indeed it's one of the big issues -- a number of decades because it has tradition nayly been the key part of the export driven fishing circle. of course the species as well. some people are arguing cue to the -- [inaudible] so one of the reasons why there is a need for more active arctic corporation is in fact to study what is happen together fishery
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in the ocean of the world including the arctic and the ice melt. and i found it interesting when i invited them to iceland a few years ago, he is, as you might know, a special envoy of the president of france on arctic and polar issues. his argument was that the first dispute that would unearth nationings to a new situation in the arctic would be dispute over fisheries. that the meting of the arctic sea ice and the transmore fashion of the northern shores would challenge the traditional partner of fishery but bring nations from far away part of the world. nations that do fish all over the world back to the arctic in a way that we have never seen before. so we might see fishing fleets not just from the arctic countries but from dominant asian fishing agencies also
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coming up to the arctic because of the melting of the sea ice nap is why the future of the fishery in the are i tick is -- arctic is among the issue we put on the agenda for at arctic committee convening next of course. i think we are announcing in the speech that the date is the middle of october, the location and the capital of my country. you can also go to see many issues discussed during the meeting. >> looking to russia, the questioner said russia recently adopted a new strategy for the arctic region. does russia's strategy respond with your own view on development in the region and of the arctic council? >> on the whole, i think russia has been very constructive within the arctic council. in fact the agreement of the
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search and rescue which was assigned -- [inaudible] among those who signed the agreement with the secretary of state. because asian were a party lead by the russia drn [inaudible] within the arctic similarly the new agreement they are the u.s. and russian exports they work together in the negotiations. president putin has taken a very active interest in the arctic. the russian geographic has now
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president putin came to the conferences and gave -- [inaudible] if i may say so in the capital of this country, i think it would similarly be interesting if the president obama came to arctic conferences and gave policy speech on the emphasis that the united states president of the arctic counsel will involve from 2015 to 2017. l chairmanship of the arctic council will be in my opinion, the primary chairmanship responsibility of the u.s. will hold in international institutions of the -- [inaudible] in the speech president putin offered how to plan in term of infrastructure and regulation for the opening of the northeast
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linking asia to europe and america along the russian coast. one of the reason the chinese authorities are planning to go straight -- then they can more or less decide on their own. i believe in this correct that the russian parliament last year approved the first on the northern sea route indicate the -- [inaudible] on the whole dc interesting with the confrontation characterize the relationship between the u.s. and russia and the 20th century. within the arctic council together with the other six countries. they have both cooperated very conductively in recent years.
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>> now the arctic counsel as you said is intentionally kept small. even within that iceland is a small country compared with the u.s. and canada with the upcoming chairmanship. how much clout do you see iceland having and wanting in the arctic resource debate? >> during the cold war, my country had a strategic position in the military system and the nobody region. for over fifty years the bush administration decided six years ago seven years ago -- [inaudible] and some people were saying at that time might indicate that iceland politically was no longer an interest of consequence. but the emergence of the arctic
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issues have demonstrated that iceland is now placed in the middle of new highway that characterizes the future of the arctic. serve as a basis for a new -- relationship with united states with canada and russia. as i said before in my introduction it's berk a regular item on the agenda with the leader of asia and european countries. one of the item i discuss with the president of france a few weeks ago, and as i mentioned in this dialogue are not just the opening up a new -- and how to utilize the natural resources. but also scientific result. the training of the scientist of canada inform us about the
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environment [inaudible] so increasingly the arctic corporation has become a fundamental pillar of our 21st century foreign policy. there's no disagreement about that in my country. the parliament passed last year anonymously a policy resolution which defined the icelandic objective in the arctic. so together with the other nordic countries we hope to play a constructive part and evidence of this was that few months ago one of our april servant was the first director general of the secretary of the arctic. >> several currency questions. the icelandic money is coming out of financial turmoil. what would you consider the future of the money?
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and are you considering any alternative currency for iceland ? >> i think it's a positive indication of how we have all dealt with the financial crisis. i can comment on the national press club only six minutes are left and i get that question. [laughter] of the financial issues. nobody would believe that for a five years ago. without in state of affairs we could perhaps come together again and talk about how we're the financial crisis and how we dealt with a crisis in a different way from many other countries. how we did not follow the footstep of the financial world how you deal with a financial crisis. the imf acknowledged they learn more from dealing with iceland -- [inaudible]
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and how we have dealt differently with the situation with many european countries, by, for example, we let thebacks fail. -- bang fail. we introduced capital control. we didn't introduce the same austerity measure as most of the european countries. but where as you would argue that our own currency money was part of the problem leading up to the collapse of the banks, it's been helpful as a part of the solution. the value of the currency and making the export -- [inaudible] including tourism sec or sector. every year since the financial crisis tourism has increased by 50 to 20%. where as in europe it doesn't every year. what will be the future of the current sei is, of course, debated in my country. there are different views on
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this. some people want iceland to be a part of a larger currency area. some people argue the euro or the u.s. or canadian dollar. in the future there's no alternative except to have our own currency. my personal view has for a long time including whether a minister of finance been that a stable currency is not a -- the economic policy should be to create prosperity on economic growth for our people. if you have to deval the currency in order to get the prosperity, it might be a useful tool. but you will have to invite me in a few years time to give you a more comprehensive answer. >> we would be happy to have you back. today we will almost out of time. before asking the last couple. a couple of housekeeping matter. i would like to remind you of
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the upcoming on april 17. we have the drecker of we have patrick postmaster general of u.s. on may 7 we have kristen nice legend and publisher of tennis magazine. second i would like to present our guest with the that traditional national press club coffee mug. [applause] [applause] and one last question, back in the 1970 before you were president, you were a journal i guess like many -- journalist like many in the room. you hosted a successful television show. what was the secret of your success in what advice to do you have to today's news professionals? [laughter] >> i was very young when i was a
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on television reporting on a discussion program on television. i was sufficiently young, sufficiently arrogant to ask questions nobody wanted to answer. [laughter] so i'm not sure where i would like to talk about that debate. on a serious note, i think you need to stick to the issues. and you have to respect the people, the ordinary people of their interest in the real issues. what have you learned from your public career? my simple answer is that you can't fool the people. so you to trust the people by speaking in a straightforward and honest way about the concerns. ab are and lincoln put it more eloquently -- [inaudible]
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too much of one is perhaps based on the fact that maybe you can -- some of the time. but these issues are so serious, including ones we've been speaking about here today that we need the media in a serious detailed way. that's one of the reason we decided to start the arctic circle to give the national media and respective countries of venue they can come every year and report on what is really happening in our arctic ice covered neighborhood. thank you very much for be with us. [applause] [applause] [applause] thank you. thank you, president for being with us here today. i would like to thank the staff
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for helping organize the event. finally reminder you can find more information about the national press club on our website thank you. we are adjourned. [applause] [inaudible] [inaudible conversations] and reminder if you missed any of the event it's available on the c-span video library. after coming to agreement on amendments late last night, nine amendments will be voted on at 4:00 p.m. eastern including the machin-toomey amendment which calls for expanded background check for gun buyers. still no final vote. the house gavels in at 10:00 a.m. for speeches, general speeches this morning, legislative work will start at
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noon with preliminary work to begin debate on a bill encouraging private companies to share information about cyberthreats. you can see the live on c-span. and now life to the senate floor here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o lord god of hosts, we found your words, and they caused our hearts to rejoice. thank you for your abiding presence and for the illumination of your wisdom. inspire our lawmakers. make their spirits great enough for
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these challenging days. upon the frenetic pace of their day, drop the dew of your kindness. bless the members of the legislative staffs who labor with diligence into the night. again, lord, we ask you to sustain the victims of the boston bombings. bring healing to those who were injured and solace to those who mourn. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands,
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one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding off icer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., april 17, 2013. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable brian schatz, a senator from the state of hawaii, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following leader remarks this morning the senate will resume consideration of the gun safety legislation. under an agreement reached yesterday, debate time until 5:00 p.m. will be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. at 5:00 p.m. there will be a series of up to nine votes in
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relation to amendments to the bill. mr. president, i am told that s. 743 is due for its second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. the clerk: s. 743, a bill to restore state sovereign rights to enforce state and local sales and use tax laws and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president, i would object to any further proceedings in regard to this bill. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bill will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: mr. president, today this august body will honor the memory of 20 first-grade children, little babies who were gunned down, most of them shot
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multiple times. we will also honor the teachers and administrators who were killed that day in newtown, connecticut. but we're also going to honor with this legislation tens of thousands of others who were killed by guns each year here in america. we're going to do that by voting on a number of measures to strengthen the laws to prevent gun violence in this nation. mr. president, the families of innocents killed in newtown, aurora, in carson city, blacksburg, in oak creek and columbine really deserve these votes. where do i stand on these democratic proposals? this afternoon the senate will vote on a compromised background check proposal crafted by senators manchin, toomey, kirk and schumer, all experienced legislators.
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i very much appreciate their principle stance on legislation supported by 90% of the american people. the american people overwhelmingly support this commonsense proposal which would close gaping loopholes in the law and keep guns out of the hands of bad people, criminals, and people with severe mental illness. what it would not do -- what it would not do, mr. president, is create a national registry of guns or gun owners. in fact, that's specifically outlawed in the legislation. i refer everyone to page 27 of the manchin-toomey compromise legislation. it not only bans a registry, but, mr. president, it creates a 15-year felony sentence for any government official found storing these gun records.
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so, please, start talking about points of the bill because it is absolutely false, untrue and it's unfair. claims that this legislation would create a gun registry is nothing more than shameful scare tactics. if any of my colleagues wish to vote against stronger background checks, go ahead and do it and oppose the will of the american people. that's their right. excuse me. but the american people, mr. president, have a long, long memory. to vote against something that 90% of the american people want, the american people aren't going to forget about that. the opponents of the will of the american people should not spread misinformation or sew
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seeds of fear about this critical antiviolence legislation, but that's what they're doing. that's what they've done and it's absolutely false and misleading. assault weapons, mr. president, we're going to vote on senator feinstein's proposal to ban assault weapons. she's been stalwart in her advocacy for this legislation. mr. president, i'm a strong supporter of the second amendment, americans' right to keep and bear arms. that's how i earned a "b" grade with the national rifle association. mr. president, when i was a 12-year-old little boy in searchlight, nevada, my parents sent away in a sears catalog and bought me a 12-gauge shotgun. that gun held five in the tube
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and you put one in the chamber. six 12-gauge shotgun shells. i carried a handgun when i was a police officer, and, frankly, on other occasions. from where i come, people own guns as a matter of course for self-defense and for hunting and for sportsman activities. target shooting. i still go target shooting basically out my backyard in searchlight with my grandchildren. but i've always had trouble understanding why people need assault weapons to hunt or protect their homes or to target shoot. when the assault weapons ban came before the senate for a vote ten years ago, i called my friends, one in particular, who is a real advocate with -- on
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guns. and he said to me, you can't define an assault weapon. why are you doing this? you can't define an assault weapon. he convinced me he was right, so i voted against that. i voted against the ban. just about a month ago i called this same friend. i asked if his opinion had changed. generally no, but specifically yes, it had changed. he still opposes a ban on assault weapons. i said tell me why. i found his new reasoning absurd. and even though i care a great deal about my friend, he's headed in the wrong direction. so it caused me to reassess my
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position. he said do police have assault weapons? i said, yeah, some of them. he said if they have them, i want them. and then he said does the military have assault weapons? i said yes. he said if they have them, i want them. mr. president, i thought about what the statement means for some time. it wasn't a rash decision i made. what it means is that there should be no limits to the kinds of weapons private citizens are allowed to own. i asked myself whether i believe that to be true. the police have tear gas,
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battering rams and other things. should civilians have tear gas and assault weapons? should civilians have them? obviously no. the military has rocket-propelled grenades, other kinds of rockets, machine guns, tanks, fighter jets. should civilians have those also? please. it does not make sense. so i decided the answer is no. in a civil society where we have to balance individual rights with public safety, there should be no limits to the kind of destructive weapons people are allowed to own. there should be limits, significant limits on what they are allowed to own. i believe -- i repeat for the second time here today -- the right to own a gun to protect
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your home and your family, to hunt, to go target practicing, i'll continue to defend that right as long as i'm serving the people of nevada. but, mr. president, you do not need an assault weapon to defend yourself or your property. assault weapons have one purpose and one purpose only: to kill a large number of people really quick. this goes well beyond the purpose of self-defense. the desire to arm ourselves against a young man or willing who willingly risks their lives to defend our freedom -- soldiers, navy, marines, air force -- is not a reason to oppose an assault weapons ban. the wish to arm ourselves against the police who keep our streets safe is not a reason to oppose an assault weapons ban.
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i believe that as americans, we have a right to arm ourselves against criminals, but we don't need the ability to arm ourselves against the army or the police. the united states military is not out to get us. federal law enforcement, local police departments are not out to get us. these conspiracy theories are dangerous and they should be put to rest. in the real world, not this conspiratorial world that some live in. in the real world in addition to mowing down first graders assault weapons are used to shoot down the very people who are sworn to protect us. here's one real-world example in nevada. after serving nine months in afghanistan with his national guard unit, staff sergeant ian michael deutch was eager to
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return to his day job as a police officer in nye county, nevada. he couldn't wait to get back to work. he survived afghanistan. bombs, bullets. he survived. his second day back on the job -- second day back on the job -- he was shot and killed by a man with an assault weapon with a 30-round clip. sergeant deutch was responding to a domestic dispute in nevada when he was shot three times in the chest. one of the bullets even pierced his body armor. the assault weapon pierced the body armor that the police officer was wearing. he was lifted to las vegas, rushed to emergency surgery and he died within a few hours.
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he was 27 years old. had survived afghanistan but not america. "he was finally safe in our country,." it's tragedy and it's one we could have prevented by keeping weapons of war off streets. we can keep them off the streets. wwe should keep them off the streets. in the 1920's, organized crime was committing murders with
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machine guns. we've seen them in the movies. "volume entine's day massacre." machine guns basically disappeared from the streets. they are in movies but not private citizens had them. we can and should make the same commonsense approach to safeguard americans from modern weapons of war, assault weapons. that's why i will vote for dianne feinstein's assault weapons ban, because we must strike a better balance between the right to defend ourselves and the right of every child in america to grow up safe from gun violence. i'll vote for the ban because maintaining the law and order is more important than satisfying conspiracy theories who leave in black helicopters and false flags.
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i'll vote for the ban because saving the lives of police officers, young and old, and innocent civilians, young and old, is more important than preventing imagined tyranny. so high-capacity magazines, clips -- that's what i call th them. my reason for wanting a ban on large capacity magazines is similar. these clips are designed to kill, not to kill a deer or a duck or any other game large or small, they're designed to kill humans, living, breathing human beings. people from hawaii, people from connecticut, people from -- people from kentucky, people from nevada, our citizens. they're designed to kill. it is not even legal to fire more than three shotgun shells let alone 230 kill birds. i told you about my shotgun.
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i told thank you would kill six shells. but we had to plug that gun because that was the law. by law we had to limit the amount of ammo in the shotgun. so we had to plug it so it could only shoot two -- i mean, three. two in the magazine, one in the chamber. so that way when you went bird hunting, you gave birds a sporting chance. you could only fire three times. as senator joe manchin of west virginia, the courageous senator from west virginia said, quote, "i don't know anybody that needs 30 rounds in a weapon to go hunting." take 30 and reload. so why shouldn't we limit the number of bullets in a clip? don't people deserve is much protection as -- as much protection as birds? how manlower the magazine size l
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force shooters to reload more often. when this mad man with the strange homosexual colored hairh the strange-colored hair walked into the movie theater with a 100 magazine, the only surprised others was his magazine jammed. in tucson, arizona, we met here in washington yesterday with gabby gifford, a woman who was shot right in the head by a man who shouldn't have a gun. but he emptied a 30-round clip in less than 30 seconds, killing six, injuring many more, including gabgy gifford. -- gabby giffords. in carson city, nevada, a mental
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lil man went to an ihop during breakfasttime and killed four people, three of them were national guard personnel going to work. he shot 80 rounds in 80 seconds. using three 30-round clips. limiting the size of clips won't hurt hunters and sportsmen, but it will save lives. i'm going to vote in support of the blooming that will-lautenberg amendment. in the case of carson cit city,e example i just gave -- let's talk a little bit about mental health. that incident at that ihop restaurant, it reveals a tragedy, of course, but also athe deficiencies in this nation's mental health treatment
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system. that's another part of our discussion about how to prevent gun violence. we've simply not done a good job providing access to mental health services. this should be a bipartisan issue going back many years it was bipartisan -- wellston wellstone-domenici. we've done a better job of doing certain things in mental health, but we've done a poor job of removing the stigma that keeps americans from seeking the treatment they need. we must do better. the bill reported out of the help committee led by chairman harkin begins the work to providing access to critical services. i hope to have shortly after we finish this list of amendments the ability to move to senator stabenow and she's worked with another bipartisan piece of legislation to even go further in doing something about the mental health problems that we can alleviate, at least on occasion, these terrible,
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terrible tragedies. as i've said many times, mr. president, the efforts won't stop every criminal bent on violence, but last year's terrible tragedy in newtown was a wake-up call that we're not doing enough to keep our citizens safe. it's hard to even comprehend the scope of the trag did i, let alone recover from it. part of the healing process is this remarkable cefertion about how to prevent violence in america. that conversation is taking place in america today because of boston and because of the thousands of people killed with guns every year. part of the healing process is examining what can be done to prevent more tragedies like the ones in newtown, connecticut, you a rohr a, colorado, oak creek, carson city, nevada, and multiple other places. i believe if we can save the life of a single american, we owe to to ourselves to try. that's going to take courage of some people, mr. president. the president of the mormon
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church said this, "live's journey is not travel on a freeway devoid of obstacles, pitfalls and snares. rather, it is a pathway marked with forks and turns. decisions are constantly before us to make them wisely, courage is needed. the courage to say no th." the courage today to say yes. "life's travel is not travel on a freeway devoid of obstacles pittfalls and snares. rather, it is a pathway marked with forks and turns. decisions are constantly before us. to make them wisely, courage is needed. the courage to say no." the courage today is to say yes. today our decision will determine the decision of our country. today i choose to vote my conscience, not only is harry reid a united states senator but
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also a a husband, a father, a grandfather and i hope friend of lots and lots of people, i choose to vote my conscience because, if tragedy strikes again, i'm sorry to say, mr. president, it will, if innocents are ung.a.o.d down in a classroom, theater or restaurant, i would have trouble living with myself aes a senator, as a husband, a fathers, or grandfather and friend, knowing that i didn't do everything in my power to prevent that incident. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: last few days have been trying ones for our nation. monday's attack in boston reminded us that terrorism can still strike anywhere a at any
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time. and as yesterday's news of an attempt to send ricin to the capitol reminds you it is important as ever to take the steps necessary to protect americans from those who would do us harm. and this morning i'd like to recognize the postal and law enforcement officials for their excellent work in detecting and preventing this threat before it even reached the capitol. they proved that the proactive measures we put in place do in fact work. we have faith that the men and women charged to protect the american people will find those responsible for the attack in boston and for the letter here at the capitol. the truth will eventually come out and justice will be delivered. now, mr. president, on another matter, later today the senate
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will begin to consider amendments to legislation that deals with one of our most fundamental constitutional rights as citizens. there are many different perspectives on this issue and passions are high on all sides. that's why i would urge the majority to allow the full and open amendment process we were told the senate would have. today's votes are a very good start. the american people deserve the opportunity to be heard on this matter. we should respect that. so let's approach this debate in the spirit of transparency that the american people expect. in my view, we should focus on keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and those with mental issues that could cause them to be a threat to our society. the government should not punish or harass law-abiding citizens in the exercise of their second
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amendment rights, and it's that focus on protecting communities and preserving our constituents' constitutional rights that will be my guide as we begin to vote on amendments on this bill. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mrs. feinstein: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 649, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 32, s. 49, a bill to ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in a national instant
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criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale, and for other purposes. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 4:00 p.m. will be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. mrs. feinstein: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: mr. president, i thank you. and i would like to call up and make pending amendment 711 to the bill before us. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from california, mrs. feinstein, for herself and oh, proposes amendment 711. mrs. feinstein: i ask that the reading of the amendment be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i happened to be on the floor and hear the remarks of the majority leader, and i just want to say thank you to him for his support of this legislation. it is extraordinarily important to me, to the people of my state, and i believe to a majority of americans, and i hope to make that clear during
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my remarks. mr. president, i would like to also thank the 23 cosponsors of this legislation. they are in alphabetical order, richard blumenthal, senators boxer, cardin, carper, collins, durbin, franken, gillibrand, harkin, hirono, klobuchar, lautenberg, levin, menendez, mikulski, murphy, murray, reid, rockefeller, schatz, warren and whitehouse. i am very grateful for your and for their willingness to step up, show courage, and do what's right for america. mr. president, there are all kinds of issues that we confront as members of this great are senate. there are issues of national security, the economy, health
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care, immigration, all tough issues. people often ask me why i care so much about assault weapons, why i have stayed with this issue for more than 20 years now? the answer is this: in my view, the proliferation of this specific type of weapon goes to the heart of what kind of society in which we want to live. it goes to what kind of culture we're going to raise our children in. and that, mr. pres, brings us to the horrific massacre at newtown, connecticut, four months ago. sandy hook -- and a lot has been said about it, but i can't forget it. sandy hook was a safe school in a safe town. candidly, it was inconceivable that such a tragedy could happen there, but it did. i can't exaggerate how this senseless murder of 20 beautiful young children and six
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incredibly brave adults affected me and millions around this country. i think it's fair to say that this event really shocked the conscience of america. the pictures of these little victims still bring tears to the eyes of millions. i have been very impressed with one page of the "new york daily news," and i carry it when i talk to people trying to get their votes. some say no. and i look at this picture of these smiling faces. and in the middle, "shame on us." this was the cover of the "new york daily news." and i think it carries the message of what we are trying to do here. and i hope to show that during the time i speak. i think despair that we all felt
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for some of us has changed to determination. and this amendment, i believe, over time will finally begin to address not only the wanton brutal violence, but the weapon that's often used to carry out that wanton, brutal violence. to have a chance at understanding these mass shootings, i think we have to understand how they're perpetrated and by whom. it is really impossible to know with any certainty what motivated adam lanza, the newtown shooter, but we know that he exhibited clear signs of mental disturbance. we know he had an extreme aversion to normal social life, that he didn't like physical contact. he was in and out of school. he spent time in special education classrooms. and he was home schooled by his mother. he lived in a room with
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blacked-out curtains and played violent video games for hours on end. we know his mother bought him assault weapons and kept an arsenal at home. we know they went target shooting together at ranges and that both were certified in gun safety. their home was a veritable weapons depot, with many firearms, more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition, sam rye swords, even a gun safe in this young man's room. it has been reported that adam compiled a spread sheet documenting hundreds of victims of mass murders, something he may have used as a measuring stick for his own sadistic plot. and we know one thing: none of this information would have been caught on a background check. and i say that although i support background checks. but this just shows what is out
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there that needs to be stopped. on that december morning, adam lanza started this rampage by killing his mother. he then drove to sandy hook. he shot his way into the school. he was heavily armed. this is what he carried: a bushmaster xm-15 assault rifle, a glock handgun, a sig sauer handgun, 10 30-round magazines and a 12saiga shotgun. in less than 30 minutes he fired at least 154 rounds from the bushmaster in two classrooms. he stopped only when first responders arrived. he then took his own life. he died with 139 more rounds available to fire. mr. president, i'm sure background checks will stop many would-be murderers, but they
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would not have prevented newtown. the weapons were legally purchased by his mother. and while he was disturbed, he had no criminal record or record of mental illness and would not have been subject to a background check because his mother gave him these weapons. let me be clear. universal background checks are very important. i strongly support them, but they would not have prevented the tragedy in newtown. i have watched these mass shootings escalate over the past 40 years, four decades of my public life. 29 have taken place in just the past decade. seven in the past year. military-style weapons are often the weapons used in many of these shootings. just three days before newtown, an ar-15 assault rifle was used to kill two people and seriously
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wound a third at a mall in klakamass, oregon. five months before newtown, a gunman opened fire in a theater, of all things, at a late-night performance of a grand new movie. he killed 12. he injured 58. and the only reason he didn't continue was that this drum that he had in his weapon, 100-round drum, jammed at approximately 50. although the aurora shooter was being treat bid mental health professionals, he owned a small arsenal of weapons, including a smith & wesson, m & p 15 assault rifle, remington 870, glock and a 100-round ammunition run.
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the weapon used at columbine in colorado, 13 were killed. a tec dc-9 assault weapon was used. a hi-point 995 carbine, a savage pump action shotgun and a double barreled sawed-off shotgun. high capacity magazines play a role in these shootings. in 2011 a gunman in tucson used a semiautomatic glock handgun equipped with a 33-round magazine to kill 6 and wound 12, including congresswoman gabby giffords. and in 2007 a virginia tech gunman used two handguns and at least 19 magazines to kill 32 and wound 17. some of these magazines were 15-round versions.
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all told, he had nearly 400 rounds to fire. now has this ended with newtown? was newtown such a stirring event on the conscience of america that no one would try it again? what is the answer? the answer is no. on march 18, just three months after sandy hook, a former student at the university of central florida planned to set off a fire alarm in his apartment and kill students as they fled. a roommate saw him with these weapons, called the police. the police came quickly and were able to prevent another massacre. here is what he had: a 22-caliber assault rifle known as a german sports gun, gsg-5. a .45 caliber handgun.
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two 110-round magazines. four home made explosive devices, and a stockpile of approximately 1,000 rounds. and on march 31 an ar-15 assault rifle was used to assassinate a district attorney and his wife in texas. the district attorney's wife innocently opens the door of their home. a gunman shot and killed her with a single bullet. as her husband turned to try to get to his weapon, he was killed in a burst of at least 20 rounds. that's the offensive nature of these weapons. a shooting many years ago, because i got to know some of the victims involved who survived, encouraged me to submit the first bill in 1994.
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and that was an attack by a man by the name of john luigi ferry on an office in a very high office building in san francisco called 101 california street. he came in, killed eight, had two tec-9's and magazines holding 50 rounds of ammunition. he killed a young mother he -- judy pizatto, 30, who he had recently -- who had recently given birth to her first child. as her neighbor said, she just had that little lovely baby ten months ago. i got to know jody's husband, steve, who was a tall, wonderful man who used to come and see me with his baby in his arms. i'm delighted that he has since remarried and made a new life for himself. he also killed donald mike
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merrill, who had recently adopted two children, a son and a daughter age 4 and 12, with his wife marilyn. and one of the wounded, a beautiful young woman, michelle skullly, was saved because her husband john died while jumping on her body shielding her from the gunfire. this is how these eventsen -- how these events unfold. the tragedies they leave behind are actually never completely recoverable from. over the years as i've watched, i have come to see that these weapons are attractive to two groups of people. one are collectors, target practicers. , some hunt and some think they offer a strong defense. that's one group. but death tolls show that there is another group who covet these
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firearms more for their deadly firepower. most notably, grievance killers, gang members and juveniles. their goal is to kill indiscriminately. these are weapons that are easy to fire quickly. they can fire many times without overheating. and they can carry ammunition-feeding devices that exceed 100 rounds. these are the weapons of choice of this group of people. so the question comes: can this group of people who will kill with these weapons buy these weapons easily? and the answer is today yes. these weapons are attractive to gang members because pistol grips and folding stocks make them easy to conceal and
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maneuver. and these weapons pack enough firepower to confront other gangs as well as the police. i would like to tell you one other story from my home city that touched me deeply in 2004 when undercover police officers isaac espinoza and barry parker confronted a man at the corner of newcome avenue and new hall street in san francisco. as the officers approached, the shooter pulled out an ak-47 from beneath his coat and fired 14 rounds, killing officer espinoza and injuring officer parker, both of whom were armed. officer espinoza was a real up and comeer in the police department. ever liked him and was very
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special. he had been a police officer for eight years, and during that time he received four major service awards. the current police chief, greg sur, said he wouldn't have been surprised if officer espinoza rose to be the chief himself one day. but he's gone. he left behind a wife of seven years -- grenada, their daughter isabella who was three at the time of the murder. finally, assault weapons are attractive to juveniles because they're lightweight, have little recoil and are easy to fire. the take-away is that nowhere seems safe from these acts of mass violence, made all the more deadly because of the military features of these particular weapons. these mass killings aren't confined to dangerous areas. they happen in a mall in klakamas. they happen in a movie theater
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in aurora. they happen in a temple in oak creek. they happen in an office in san francisco. and worst of all, they happen now in schools. schools used to be safe places, but now we confront the legacy of columbine, virginia tech, and newtown. president obama relayed the story of a murdered child's mother. she said she hates when people say her son was in the wrong place at the wrong time. where are schools ever the wrong place? schools should always be the right place for children, and they should always be the right time. and and that's why we must take action. i'm relieved we're finally debating the issue of gun violence, in particular the amendment i offer today to introduce the assault weapons ban in the underlying bill.
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it has been nine years since the first federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004 and far too many deaths. the assault weapons ban i offer today as an amendment has one purpose: to begin to dry up the future supply of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines over time, which will save lives. it does not affect any legally owned weapon possessed now. i fully support the bill to expand background checks, increase penalties on straw purchasers, and strengthen school security. but these provisions are only part of a solution. the weapons i talk about can fire hundreds of rounds a minute with velocities and energy far exceeding the standard handguns.
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they don't belong on the streets where they can be bought without questions asked. this amendment bans the future manufacture, possession, sales, and importation of 157 semi automatic assault weapons by make and model. let me list some of the most infamous models. you have here a display. they include the ak-47, the ar-15, the bushmaster xm-15, the smith & wesson m & p-15, the uzi mini carbine and the intratec
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dc9. they are delineated in the bill by make and model. the bill also per speckively bans the manufacture, sale, and importation of all other assault weapons that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one military characteristic such as a business stoll grip -- business stoll grip or barrel -- pistol grip. the amendment bans the future sale or future transfer of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than ten rounds. these large magazine -- and here are some of them, and this is the drum that was used at you a roh-- ataurora. in many cases like the tragic shooting of congresswoman
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gifford, it is only when a shooter stops to switch mag done as that police -- magazines that police or others have the chance to take the shooter down. and he or she may well fumble in so doing. what does the amendment not do? to clear up some misinformation, it's also important to note what the bill does not do. it does not take away any legally owned weapon. all weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment are exempted. the amendment does not require registration. if an assault weapon is legally owned before enactment and later transferred or sold, the recipient or purchaser must pass a background check, as required in the underlying bill. finally, the amendment does not affect hunting or sporting firearms. and let me point that out.
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it protects legitimate hunters by excluding 2,258 specifically named firearms used for hunting and sporting purposes. it took 96 pages of legal bill language to list these hunting and sporting firearms by make and model, so everyone can see clearly that their hunting or sporting gun is excluded from the bill. it took my staff a long time and a lot of vetting to compile this list. but they have done it. some have argued that the legislation would violate the second amendment. candidly, that's wrong. the original federal assault weapons ban i sponsored in 1994 was repeatedly challenged in federal court on a variety of grounds, including the second
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amendment, the commerce clause, the due process clause, and the equal protection clause. the fourth, sixth, ninth, and district of columbia circuit courts all upheld the 1994 law, with three of them rejecting challenges based on the second amendment. since these rulings, the supreme court in 2008 recognized an individual right under the second amendment in a 5-4 decision in the district of columbia v. heller. but heller itself clearly rejects the claim that second amendment rights are absolute. in heller, conservative justice antonin scalia states, "the rights secured by the second amendment is not unlimited." and the court said, "the second amendment does not protect --
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quote -- "a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purposes." end quote. case made. also, just like other constitutional rights, the second amendment's right to keep and bear arms is subject to reasonable restrictions. an assault weapons ban is such a reasonable restriction, and no assault weapon ban has ever been overturned by a court of law. don't take my word for it. look at the supreme court decisions. justice scalia's opinion in heller specifically stated, and i quote, "weapons most useful in military service -- m-16 rifles and the like --" are weapons
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that -- quote -- ""may be banned." end quote. and there are weapons that are the like of the m-16 weapon on the street today. -- that are covered by this bill. third, an assault weapons ban leaves available ample means for individuals to defend themselves and their families using firearms. this amendment imposes restriction on one class of weapons: military-style weapons that are highly dangerous and can kill large numbers of people quickly with increasing veloci velocity. it leaves open ample opportunities to possess and use numerous types of firearms for defense. i have no question that this bill is constitutional. a second false attack is that assault weapons covered by this
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ban contain only cosmetic features and are no more dangerous than any other firearm. nonsense. law enforcement officers and gun experts are the best ones to go to, and we have. and they have pointed out that these features were designed to be added to military weapons to make them more deadly, and they have the same effect on civilian versions. some examples: the pistol grip was first added to a rifle by the german army in world war ii when it was incorporated in the stg-44. that's called a storm gun. this feature allows a shooter to spray fire a large number of rounds over a broad killing zone without having to aim at each individual target. folding stocks were added to the
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m-1 carbine by the united states army in world war ii so the weapon could be more easily transported by soldiers traveling in cramped aircraft and military vehicles. similarly, uzi manufacturers started adding folding stocks to their weapons in the early 1950's at the request of dutch and german military who found the traditional wooden stock to be too long for use while traveling in armored vehicles. every law enforcement officer who testified on the assault weapons ban in the judiciary hearing was emphatic that military characteristics add to a weapon's lethality. from baltimore county police chief jim johnson, assault weapons are -- quote -- "meant for the battlefield." milwaukee chief of police, ed
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flynn, "military characteristics are not simply cosmetic in nature. these weapons are designed for combat." end quote. and john walsh, the united states attorney for colorado couldn't be more clear. "these weapons, he said, "are crafted to be as effective as possible at killing human beings." end quote. now, where are we today? seven states and the district of columbia banned assault weapons prior to the newtown, massacre. these are my own state, california, connecticut, d.c., hawaii, maryland, massachusetts, new york, and new jersey. since newtown, legislators in 20 states have introduced bills to either ban assault weapons or strengthen existing bans. 20 states are now contemplating
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action. connecticut and new york passed laws to tighten their existing bans, to prohibit assault weapons with one military characteristic, which is what we do in this bill. maryland expanded an existing ban on assault pistols to cover rifles and assault shotguns. in massachusetts and new jersey, bills have been introduced to strengthen those states' assault weapons bans. efforts are also under way to prohibit these deadly weapons in states with no current assault weapon ban. in florida, illinois, indiana, minnesota, missouri, mississippi, north dakota, new mexico, oregon, pennsylvania, vermont, and virginia bills have been introduced to impose an assault weapons ban for the first time.
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all of these states have strong hunting or sporting traditions, but the sponsors of these bills recognize that no one need needn assault weapon to hunt or target shoot. in other states, bills have bee produced to regulate assault -- have been introduced to regulate assault weapons. in arizonas a the sale of any assault weapon should be done through a licensed dealer. bills in kentucky and texas would require one to obtain a license to purchase an assault weapon. the kentucky bill would also require that registration -- require the registration of assault weapons and handguns. that's kentucky. and some bills have been introduced that would go even further than the amendment i have introduced today. california is seeking to strengthen its ban, going from a one-characteristic test to a
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zero-characteristic test. this bill would prohibit any semi-automatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine. a bill in south carolina would require the government to seize any assault weapons used in certain crimes. even though more states are banning assault weapons, the need for a federal ban has never been greater. if only california or new york banbans assault weapons, nothing stops an individual from buying an assault weapon in neighboring state, then crossinge crossing r to commit violence. at a judiciary committee hearing, senator durbin mentioned that guns are coming into the city of chicago, which are being traced to the state of mississippi. i believe that if this legislation does not pass, we will see bills pass in a umin of
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states -- in a number of states. that will result in a confusing patchwork of laws. if this bill goes down be states will pass additional legislation. it is only a question of time. some suggest there may not be enough support in the senate to pass the assault weapons ban, but the support is there among the american people. in poll after poll that support is there. in no poll, even with all the discussion, even with the mobilizeation of gun owners and n.r.a., a majority in every single national poll done shows that the majority wants controls over assault weapons. i know of no poll done this year that shows less than a majority
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to reinstate a federal ban on assault weapons. and we have more than 170 organizations covering a wide range of groups who have endorsed the bill. here are just a few. major city chiefs, international association of chiefs of police, american medical association, american academy of nursing, american academy of pediatrics, national education association, american federation of teachers, the children's defense fund, the sierra club, the united states conference of catholic bishops, united states conference of mayors, the national league of cities, more than 800 mayors from across the country: tom ridge, former governor and homeland security secretary. john warner, former senator from
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virginia. few bills ever had such broad support. and i ask for consent, madam president, to place a list of endorsements carried here into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: i've also received letters and calls from americans across the country, from all walks of life, including gun owners who demand that we stop these weapons of war from claiming more innocent victims. i even had a member of the n.r.a. call me opbd telephone -- on the telephone and say i am a hunter and i have an ar-15, but i don't need it and i am turning it in. i ask to place excerpts from these letters in the record if i may. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: thank you, madam president. to conclude, not every issue we vote on in the senate is a life-or-death matter. i deeply believe this is. since the original federal assault weapons ban expired in
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2004, there have been more than 460 incidents involved assault weapons, and here they are listed. 460 of them. the most important duty a government has is to protect its citizens' safety. when 20 beautiful first graders are slaughtered, our government has failed that duty. when 12 are killed and 58 are wounded in a movie theater -- a safe place -- our government has failed its duty. when people are gunned down in malls, parking lots and their offices, our government has failed that duty. i do not believe that our values are stronger because we allow individuals to own weapons designed for the sole purpose of killing as many people as possible. and we must not resign ourselves
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to these tragedies. they cannot become just another fact of american life. we have the duty, i deeply believe, to take steps to stop these mass murders that have one common element: the use of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. through hearing and markup we have heard no compelling reason not to pass this legislation. not a single court decision has been cited that suggests a ban is unconstitutional. no one can credibly dispute law enforcement testimony that assault weapons are more lethal than other weapons. a majority of americans support taking action. so i urge my colleagues to vote on this amendment based on its merits, not with an eye towards politics oratings from gun lobbying groups. it is a time to stand tall.
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and as gabby giffords said, "you must act. be bold. be courageous." so i ask you to stand with the thousands of police chiefs and law enforcement officers who support this bill. stand with the doctors and other health professionals who support this bill. stand with the religious leaders who support this bill. and stand with the victims of gun violence and their families who support this bill. the time has come to take these weapons of war off our streets, away from criminals, grievance killers and the mentally deranged. i urge my colleagues to stand tall and appellate court this -- stand tall and support this amendment. i yield the floor and i thank you, madam president.
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madam president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mrs. feinstein: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: madam president, i ask that all time used be equally divided between both sides. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: thank you, madam president. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, the second amendment of the united states constitution is not merely about hunting, recreational shooting, or marksmanship. now is it discretionary. this is one of the provisions of the bill of rights that the
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founding framers of our constitution felt so passionately about that they made sure was included in our constitution as part of the first ten amendments to the constitution. it is not a take it or leave it proposition. but its real significance is much greater. indeed, the second amendment has long been viewed as a bulwark of individual liberty that guarantees the most basic civil rights in a free society: the trittheright that allows respon, patriotic, law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, to defend their families, and to defend their homes. all of this without having to rely on the government. it's no mystery to any of us that the federal government, nor state nor local government, including law enforcement, is
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not omnipresent. there are many parts of our country where law enforcement is a long way away or simply unavailable, and so the second amendment preserves the right of responsible law-abiding citizens to be able to protect themselv themselves, their families, and their homes without having to rely upon an omnipresent law enforcement presence. the founding fathers understood that the right of self-defense can become meaningless without the right to keep and bear arms. some are pushing to curtail second amendment rights in the hope of preventing another mass shooting. i share the sorrow with the families who are grieving over their loved ones who were lost. i've had the privilege and honor of meeting some of the families.
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and i wish it were as easy as some suggest, 10 solve the problem with the wave of a magic wand or to pass some bill. here's the inconvenient fact that advocates of strict gun control ignore: one of the facts: every mass shooting commits in the united states over the last 63 years, including the newtown shooting, occurred in a gun-free zone. in other words, in each of these horrific i.n.s. substances, the attacks took place in an area where law-abiding citizens had effectively been disarmed. i listened to the remarks of the distinguished senator from california, who i know passionately believes that there has to be some solution legislatively we could pass that would prevent repetition of some of these terrible tajtories, but she conceded herself that no
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background check bill would have prevented adam lanza from acquiring these weapons, which he effectively stole from his mother and murdered her with those same weapons before committing further atrocities at sandy hook elementary school. we do know that if the current law was enforced, that the virginia tech shooter would have been prevented from acquiring guns legally, because we know he had already been adjudicated mentally ill by the state of virginia. but those records were never transmitted to the f.b.i. to be included in a background check. and we know that the shooter in tucson fail a drug test -- failed a drug test, a disqualifying fact for somebody to be able to legally purchase
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firearms given a background check, but that information was never transmitted to the f.b.i., and so the few son shooter was not -- and so the tucson shooter was not prevented from buying weapons, even though he should have been disqualified if the background check system had been working the way it should. i believe the most appropriate response to the recent mass shootings tshootings is to maket our current laws involving mental illness, drug use, mental health adjudications are enforced more aggressively and more efficiently. but, at the same time, while we're trying to find a solution to these problems and not just engage in meaningless symbolism, we should not be making it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their constitutional rights under the second amendment. we can and we should embrace
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realistic, effective solutions to the mental health problems, because no one i know believes that a mentally ill person should be able to purchase a firearm. but we also should not erode the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens in the process. i think we'll have an opportunity to vote on such a bill during the course of these debates. in order to bolster the freedom of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, i'm offering an amendment that would allow americans with concealed handgun licenses issued by their own states to exercise those rights in other states whose state law authorizes the issuance of a concealed handgun license. this is not a national standard. this is respecting the rights of individual states to determine whether or not they will in fact
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issue a concealed handgun license and to allow those persons who have a concealed handgun license issued bid their home state -- by their home state to have that firearm legally in another state. this is kind of an interesting chart. and you'll notice that only two places in the country -- the red -- the district of columbia and the state of illinois -- those are the only two states in the country that don't have a regime of concealed handgun license issuance. only two, the district of columbia and illinois. this amendment would not allow for concealed carry in illinois or the district of columbia, both of which have banned that entirely. nor would this amendment affect the right of every state to set its own laws with regard to
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concealed carry. it would not establish a national standard for concealed carry, and it would not allow anyone to disobey the laws of his or her home state. what it would do is to effectively treat concealed carry licenses like a driver's license. if you're driving from virginia to texas, you don't have to obtain a separate driver's license for each state you drive through. but do you have to obey the speed limits and other laws of the state in which you are a he driving. -- in which you're driving. this legislation would create a similar system for concealed carry permits. so if it becomes the law of the land, someone with a concealed carry permit in texas would no longer have to worry about object tinge a sec rat -- obtaining a separate one when he or she was traveling across the country. however, all texa texans would l
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have to follow the concealed carry laws in the state in which they happened to be located. just as residents of other states still have to follow the law -- the traffic laws of the state, even if they have a texas driver's license, if they are in new york, they still have to obey the traffic laws of new york. this bill is very similar to an amendment that won the support of 58 senators back in 2009, including 13 democrats who are still serving in this chamber. i would add, madam president, that for those who argued about the effectiveness of background checks -- and i certainly agree that for people in the business of selling guns that background checks is and should be the standard -- but a concealed handgun license is like a background check on steroids.
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it's far more intrusive into the privacy and the background of the person who applies for a handgun license. so it ought to be something -- this standard ought to be one that those who support a robust background check regime could also support. it's also a bipartisan idea that would make it easier for law-abiding citizens to exercise their second amendment rights. and it would avoid the gotcha and a prosecution that might otherwise occur if a concealed handgun licensee happened to be traveling across the country and possess a firearm without this law they might otherwise be prosecuted for a criminal offense. and just one final point ... for more than two decades now, one of the biggest supporters of concealed carry has been a remarkable texas woman by the name of susanna huff.
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in october of 191, susan and her family were finishing lunch at a cafeteria in texas when a mentally ill man drove his truck into the restaurant, pulled out his gun and began opening fire on customers. when suzanna realized what was happed happening, she reached into her purse to retrieve her handgun but then she remembered her gun was not this her purse, it was in her car, because texas law at the time did not authorize a concealed handgun permit. as suzanna told the senate judiciary committee in chilling testimony just a few months ago, i wanted to be a law-abiding citizen. her father courageously tried to tackle the gunman but was shot in the chest. her mother was also eventually killed, too. thankfully, susanna escaped and she quickly became a powerful
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champion of concealed carry, which texas legalized in 1995. susanna later on ran for the texas legislature where she served for ten years. i want to thank her for all she has done to bring this issue home in ways that all of us can understand and to protect our second amendment rights for responsible, patriotic, law-abiding citizens. susanna understands very well that we must never, ever criminalize law-abiding citizens exercising their second amendment rights. -- by passing misguided legislation which encroaches on those rights and does not solve the real problem, which we can do and i hope we will take up in enforcing existing laws and dealing with the mental health
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component that is a common element in so much of this legislation. madam president, i ask unanimous consent to call up my amendment 719. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from texas, mr. cornyn, for him sever and mr. vitter, proposes amendment numbered 719. mr. cornyn: and i'd ask unanimous consent that further reading of the allot be dispensed with. -- of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: thank you, madam president. madam president, i know this afternoon at 4:00 we will vote on a series of amendments. for all of us who are worried and concerned about this -- these episodes of senseless gunning violence, i think we can actually find a solution, not by encroaching on the rights of law-abiding citizens who are exercising their constitutional rights but by focusing on the areas where we can actually make a din difference, by enforcing
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current laws on the books better, more efficient listened and uniformly and also dealing with the mental health component that is common to so many of these mass shooting atrocities. madam president, i yield the floor and i had aide suggest the absence of a earl quo. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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ms. collins: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. a senator: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that proceedings urn the call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: thank you, madam president. madam president, i rise today to discuss the background check amendment proposed by our colleagues, senator manchin and senator toomey. madam president, i grew up in northern maine where responsible gun ownership is part of the
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heritage of virtually every family. in fact, i can't think of a family in my hometown of caribou that did not have firearms in their homes when i was growing up, and that includes my own family. i strongly support our second amendment rights and two recent supreme court decisions in district of columbia v. heller and mcdonald v. chicago make clear that those constitutional rights pertain to the individual. as we have studied this important issue during the past several months, i have met with countless people who hold a wide
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range of views. they include the sportsmen's alliance of maine, known as s.a.m., maine's law enforcement officials, the n.r.a., victims of gun violence, licensed gun dealers, firearms manufacturers, mental health professionals, and school superintendents, among many others. and these discussions have been so helpful to me as i seek to better understand the issues that confront us as we seek to shape this bill. we've discussed issues including the inadequacy of mental health services, the gaps in the reporting of data to the national instant criminal background check system, school
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safety, excessive violence in video games and movies, the lack of effective laws for gun trafficking and straw purchases that are aimed at getting guns in the hands of criminals. those are just some of the many, many issues that i've had the benefit of discussing with my constituents. as a result of these extensive discussions, i have decided to support the bipartisan compromise authored by senators joe manchin and pat toomey. their bipartisan effort would strengthen the background check system without in any way infringing on our second amendment rights.
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i would note that their proposal represents a vast improvement over the provisions currently in the bill, legislation, those particular provisions that were drafted by senator schumer. i oppose the background check provisions drafted by senator schumer that are in the bill now. they would have required -- they would require, for example, a father giving a gun to his son or daughter as a gift or a brother selling a hunting rifle to his brother to undergo background checks. i found that to be completely unnecessary and onerous. in addition, the bill that is on the floor now has burdensome
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paperwork requirements that are unnecessary and that many believe are unworkable as well. by contrast, the manchin-toomey compromise takes a much more commonsense approach by requiring background checks only for commercial transactions and their approach clearly exempts family gifts and transfers and truly private sales. their amendment protects private sellers from lawsuits if the weapon is cleared through the expanded background check and is subsequently used in a crime. that is the same kind of protection that licensed gun dealers receive now. the compromise also authorizes
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the use of a state concealed carry permit instead of a background check when purchasing a firearm from a dealer, recognizing the rigorous background checks and approval process these concealed carry permits require. their amendment also improves interstate travels laws for sportsmen and sportswomen who transport their firearms across state lines in a responsible w way. the term "transport" includes staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, buying fuel, vehicle maintenance, and medical treatment. to improve the quality and the completeness of the data in the nics, their amendment would also
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mandate improvements that would require states and the federal government to send relevant records on criminals and people who are dangerously mentally ill through state plans that are developed in conjunction with the department of justice, another important improvement made by the manchin-toomey bill, since we know that there are gaps in the reporting that make the background instant check system less effective than it should be. the bill also fixes an unjust situation where veterans have been inappropriately reported to the database without due proce process. the amendment requires a veteran to receive extra due process prior to losing his or her right
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to buy a gun. that is only fair. specifically, it requires that the v.a. either establish or designate a board for the purpose of hearing appeals by veterans who are considered adjudicated as mentally ill and the veteran can appeal directly to this board or an outside court of jurisdiction. madam president, it was critical to my support of the manchin-toomey amendment that it explicitly bans the federal government from creating a national firearms registry. i am completely and unalterably opposed to creating a national registry of gun owners that would be maintained in washington by the federal
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government. the bill imposes serious criminal penalties on any individual who misuses or illegally retains firearms records. i'm also pleased that the manchin-toomey proposal would create a national commission on mass violence. this is a proposal that i have long advocated and is very much needed. it would convene experts to study all aspects of these horrible attacks and mass murders that have plagued our country, cost so much anguish to the families left behind -- caused so much anguish to the families left behind, and have caused unbearable anguish for the survivors as well. now, madam president, obviously
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this debate is now really just beginning on the senate floor and the manchin-toomey amendment is just one of many that will be considered. some i will support. others i will strongly oppose. it is impossible to predict at this early point, before we have cast a single vote on the many amendments that have been filed to this bill, what the bill will look like in the final analysis and whether or not i shall be able to support it. but i do believe that the manchin-toomey background check amendment is a reasonable, commonsense, thoughtful proposal that i can and will support. thank you, madam president.
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mr. barrasso: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent to call up my amendment number 717. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from wyoming, mr. barrasso, proposes an amendment numbered 717. mr. barrasso: madam president, i ask the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. 345d, i rise today to speak about this amendment today which to me is very simple and very straightforward. this amendment is designed to protect the privacy and the safety of law-abiding gun owners. if a state or local government releases private information on gun owners, which we know has happened, well, then that state or local government will lose part of its funding that comes from the federal government. now, this information is private information on individuals that have licenses to purchase or to possess or to carry firearms. again and again we have seen,
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madam president, the irresponsible release of gun ownership information. most recently there was a publication, published an interactive map of data received by government officials of gun owners in various parts of new york. you may wonder how the publication got such a list. well, the paper obtained this sensitive list from county officials. the map included the names and the addresses of individuals who have firearm permits in the counties involved. now these individuals -- law-abiding gun owners, retired law enforcement officers, victims of domestic violence -- all had this information about their private lives released. the release of this information by county government did nothing to increase public safety, and in fact i believe that the government compromised public safety. by releasing the names and addresses, i believe the government put these permit holders and their families at
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risk. it also put a mark on the back of their neighbors that may not have any firearms. eventually this publication, this paper took the map down, but the damage was already done. on january of this year a criminal attempted to burglarize a home in white plains, new york. the homeowner was in his 70's and he had his gun owner information released on the internet. thrafrpbgfully the robber -- thankfully the robber did not steal the firearms. less than a year later, another home in new city, new york, that was disclosed on the internet was robbed. this time the robber successfully stole two handguns and two firearm permits. legally obtained firearm permits now stolen. the timing of the disclosure and the robberies clearly appears to be more than just a coincidence. these criminals had the names,
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addresses, and a map. that's all they needed. and where did they get it? because of the release of the information by the government. this, to me, is an irresponsible disclosure. but it goes beyond this. they have also released information that put a victim of domestic violence at risk. according to a new york state senator, the county officials also disclosed the name and the location of a victim of domestic violence who did have a legal gun permit. madam president, i will tell you throughout my medical career, i've treated victims of domestic violence. i have seen firsthand the importance of not disclosing the location of victims of domestic violence. often they move among a network of safe houses. they start a new life in a new city. this individual was so threatened that she contacted her state senator.
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while i don't know the specifics of her case, i do know that there was someone in her life that posed a threat that warranted a gun permit. so, madam president, victims of domestic violence should never have their location disclosed by state or county officials. not under any circumstances that i can think of. this, to me, is a perfect example of the unintended consequences of a government releasing sensitive information. as you can see from these examples, there are many unintended consequences that put the public at risk. the county officials were irresponsible, in my opinion, and they certainly did not increase public safety. i believe they harmed it. so now we have two handguns that were stolen in the hands of criminals because of the fact that the list was released and then made public in a broader way. we now have a victim of domestic
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violence whose identity and location have been disclosed. this release of private gun ownership information not only puts the lives of gun owners and law enforcement victims of domestic violence at risk, but also their unarmed neighbors. so, madam president, i bring this amendment to the floor. while this amendment clearly involves gun owners, it's really about privacy, our rights as individual citizens. it's about protecting the privacy of law-abiding citizens who are exercising their second amendment rights. today i ask my colleagues to support this amendment. i'd also like to say a word, madam president, about the amendment also proposed, we'll be voting on a little later today, that has to do with the concealed carry. i have a "washington post" front-page story from this past saturday, april 13. the article quotes a member of this body. it's a front-page article. from this body.
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it says "somebody could come from wyoming." well, i'm a senator from wyoming. "somebody could come from wyoming to the big cities of new york or new haven or bridgeport and carry a concealed weapon." well, madam president, as a surgeon, i did some of my surgical training in new haven and bridgeport. so i'm a senator from wyoming and it mentions places where i did my surgical training. and i do have a concealed carry permit issued by the state of wyoming. so i bring this to the attention of this body to say that i would, with this concealed carry permit, under the amendment that i support be able to carry concealed in wyoming as well as if i returned to the place where i got some of my surgical training because what we need to do is have this sort of reciprocity. madam president, in wyoming, we don't just hand out permits like this. there is an entire regime that an individual must go through to obtain a concealed carry permit.
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first, you have to prove that you're proficient in handling a firearm, taking a course and get signed off by a certified instructor, complete an application, pay a fee. and then, of course, submit your finger prints to the f.b.i. for an evaluation. so once one goes through all of those things, i tell you, madam president, criminals do not apply for concealed carry permits. criminals issue their own. if an individual is currently prohibited by federal law from carrying a firearm, they are going to continue to be prohibited under this amendment. the amendment allows law-abiding individuals to lawfully carry concealed firearms across state lines while following the lines of the host state. just like a driver's license, this amendment is a license for self-defense across state lines in accordance with state law. so, madam president, i would encourage my colleagues to vote in support of my amendment as well as the one that we just
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heard from senator cornyn about concealed carry. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. mr. manchin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 45 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. manchin: first of all, i want to thank all of my colleagues because i know it's been a difficult time. and there is an awful lot of people who have different comments on this legislation. they have different feelings
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about it. and there's an awful lot of facts and unfacts, truths an untruths that have been out there. and i want to set a few of the things straight. you know, i think you know, madam president, i am a proud gun owner. i come from a tradition in west virginia, the same as you from north dakota. i'm an a-rated lifetime card-carrying member of the national rifle association. i agree wholeheartedly with the mission of the n.r.a., which is to defend the second amendment rights of law-abiding, law-abiding gun-owning american citizens like you and i to promote hunting and firearms safety. as a governor i promoted the eddie eagle program in west virginia along with our friends and marksmanship and educate the general public about firearms. i carry my card with me, and i've had this for quite some time. it's a life membership. and ever since i became a member, i've read all the
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magazines, like most of us when they get them and read the magazines. and i've gotten all the special notices about when there was something that they had of concern. i had always read it and i think that's great, i'm glad someone is saying this or speaking out. so i was surprised, i was surprised when the latest alerts from the n.r.a. was filled with so much misinformation about the firearms background check legislation that senator toomey and i are trying to get in front of the senate to be passed. they're telling their members that our legislation would -- i want to quote this -- "criminalize the private transfer of firearms by honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends and neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution."
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where i come from in west virginia, i don't know how to put the words any plainer than this: that is a lie. that is simply a lie. and anybody that can read knows that's not factual. there's nothing in this bill. there is not a universal background check. there is nothing in this bill that basically says that you're living in a neighborhood, and you want to sell your neighbor your gun, you can do it. no background checks are required. if you come from the traditional gun states with the tradition i have, gun culture, you can give it to your son, your grandson, any of your family members, and no background check is needed. why they would say that the private transfer of firearms by honest citizens. this bill protects honest gun-loving law-abiding citizens more than any piece of legislation we've had in the last two to three decades.
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and i think people that have read the bill know that. i remember when the n.r.a. used to feel a lot different about background checks and it wasn't all that long ago. back in 1999 their executive vice president, wayne la pierre, testified before congress that background checks were reasonable. in fact, he said it over and over again. and i quote from mr. la pierre: "we think it's reasonable to provide for instant checks at gun shows, just like at gun stores and pawnshops. because the law is if you go to a gun store now that's a licensed dealer, you have to do the background check. and by law they have to keep the record. and by law, they cannot use that as a registration. cannot by law, even in our bill we even make sure that you cannot use any type of information for registration. and we said if you try to do it,
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if your government agency or a person that works for a government and you use any of these records, it's a felony with 15 years of imprisonment. that's how much this bill protects my rights as a law-abiding gun owner. we think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every gun sold at a gun show. we've talked about this before. the law today says that if i go to a gun show and i go and there's a dealer, a licensed dealer, that dealer still has to do a background check on me and keep the proper report. but i could go to a table over or go outside in the parking lot, and nothing is required of me. nothing. and all we're doing is taking current law and making it uniform so everybody plays by the same set of rules. we think it helps tremendously.
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we talk about the criminals and people who have been adjudicated through a court of mental illness, and they have been determined that they're incompetent. we don't think those people should be able to buy a gun at a gun show. we don't think they should be able to buy a gun online or at a gun store. and we believe that the law-abiding gun owners that i know in west virginia, and i'm sure you do in north dakota, would not sell their gun, even though they don't have to go through a background check to someone they know that has been mentally insane or is a criminal in town. that's not how we transfer or sell our guns in west virginia. i'm very proud -- and i'll tell you this. i've talked to all of my gun owners all over my state. i'm so proud of them because they want to protect it. they heard all this hogwash out there and all the lies and people trying to misrepresent. and when you talk to them, over 80% of them, madam president, said i agree with you.
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you're right. and the bill -- they've read the bill. this is tough, i understand. but all i'm asking for is if people would take the time and read it and make sure you know what you're going to pose. i'd -- i would be okay if the n.r.a. just said listen, we have tried the background checks, and guess what? the federal government didn't do its job the way it was supposed to. you know what? they're right. the federal government did not clamp down. they did not require the states to turn in all of their records and put any type of a penalty. guess what in our bill, we fix that. i've told people before, i have been in the legislative process for quite some time. i have been governor of my state. i was involved in so many different aspects of government. i've never seen a perfect bill. i really have not. i have never had a perfect bill that i have ever voted on that didn't have to be worked on. so i would say to my friends, whether it be n.r.a. or any other gun organization, if you don't like the thing that you
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supported ten years ago, then work with me and let's fix it. if you believe that they didn't turn all their records in, i've got penalties and also we have incentives for the states to do their job, and we'll fix that. if you're saying there has been some of these agents a little bit rogue and they have wanted to use these records and you still in your mind believe that they're going to take your records, we have said now if they do it, it's a felony with 15 years of imprisonment. we're fixing everything that you've told me. you're saying that as a law-abiding gun owner, i'm looked upon as if something's wrong with me. why would i want to own a gun? why would i have a gun? there is three types of gun ownerships in america -- a sportsman who likes to hunt, shoot, enjoy the family outings. you have one that buys it for defense of themselves and their family. and you have truly a pure
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constitutionalist. i don't relate to this group here that i'm afraid that my government is going to have to come after me in order to defend myself against the united states government or the military. i'm not fearing that, so i'm not in that category. i'm in these two categories which most americans are. either you're a sportsman or you want to defend your family and yourself and your property, and this bill protects that right more than any bill we have ever had before us. it will do more than has ever been done in the last two to three decades. i can stand in any crowd, and i have been going in front of some of the most ardent gun support crowds. i've given the bill and i let them read the bill and i have taken every question they have asked me, every question. at the end, you might have one or two that just says sorry, i think you're overreaching. i think basically i should have a right to buy, sell, do anything i want with a gun. this might be the same person that believes there should be no laws for anything, shouldn't have to have a driver's license to drive a car, shouldn't have
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to pay income taxes, shouldn't have to abide by any laws that we have on the books. i just respectfully disagree, but i respect their position. that is the very small minority, but boy can they talk. they are very loud, and i understand. so anything i'm saying, that if some of the friends i have known forever over the n.r.a., if somebody made a mistake when they put this information out, please correct it because i can tell you in washington or in west virginia or as a human being, anything you have is your word and your credibility. and make sure when you tell someone, you tell them the facts and the truth. if that's your friend and it's someone you represent honestly, let me tell you both sides, you make your decision. and i want to defend -- i'm an unconditional friend. i'm your friend no matter what, through thick or thin. now we go on to the next, if you will, when things don't work out. i understand that. but i'm just saying that tell m
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everything. tell me what i can expect that someone might not agree with me and tell me what i can expect the people that will agree. i can handle that. so i would tell my friends, if you lose your credibility in washington, you have lost everything, and everything i used to get all the magazines, i used to receive, all the special notices that they wanted me to be alerted by, i start questioning if you didn't represent it accurately, how could i make an honest decision on how i should feel? that's all. and, madam president, i don't need to tell you, you know how relationships are built and how they're kept, and that's the most important thing here in this body, and i say that with the most respect for everybody in this body. i understand that some of our colleagues believe that supporting this piece of legislation is risky politics. i think there is a time in our
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life, a defining time in public service, a time when you have the ability to stand, when you know the facts are on your side and walk into the lion's den and look that lion in the eye and tell that lion listen, not today, not today. even if politics are riskier, remember the words of andrew jackson -- the brave man inattentive to his duty is worth little more to his country than the coward who deserts in the hour of danger. i'm not saying that, everybody has hair purpose and reason. this piece of legislation, the longer people read it, the more they study it, the more it sells itself. my good friend, jon tester, from montana spoke right on this floor two days ago. i just said jon, if you want to come and say something, please
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do. i didn't know what jon was going to say, but i did encourage jon please read it. well, flying to montana and back, you have a little time to read, and john used that time to read the bill frontwards and backwards, and he spoke about the things in the bill that it did and the things it didn't do, and that's what we have been talking about is that 90% of americans, 83% of west virginians support a criminal background check or a mental background check. they do not support infringing on an individual's right if you're out in parts of my state, my beautiful state of west virginia, that you know everybody, you know who is responsible or not, you know a family member you want to give a gun to. we know that, and we didn't infringe there. but they also believed that on the internet, that you might never know somebody, that some background check should be required. and if you have read "the new
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york times" today, you will see an article there that is very alarming and alerting. it allows us to see into the world of internet transfers of guns, people who are known felons, people that are making a living selling guns on the internet because no one's checking anything, and this bill would prevent that from happening. old hickory also said one man with courage makes a majority. one person, because, madam president, you and the ladies in this body have given us so much strength. they really do. they bring balance. as is said in some of the movies, you complete us, you complete us as a body, and you really do, and i appreciate so much the grounding and the way you ground us, and i thank you for that. this is an al qaeda member, too,
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and i want to speak about this. i was watching morning joe one morning, and they showed a clip. they showed a clip of this gentleman who is an american, an al qaeda terrorist who is an american. and as you see there, if you ever click on to see, this is very easy to pull up on your video, our guns, our gun laws are so outdated and so out of whack that even this person who wants to do damage and harm to every american, even this person has figured out how to exploit them to arm themselves and people like him in our country. i'm sure all of you -- if you haven't, you need to see this. his name is adam gadon. adam gadon is his name.
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telling sympathizers, telling sympathizers of al qaeda how to get their hands on guns in america with almost no questions asked, almost no questions. he says, and i quote, madam president -- "america is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. can you go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identifications card." and then he finishes -- "so what are you waiting for? , so what are you waiting for?" this is his words. well, i'm not waiting. i'm not waiting for him to get his hands on the guns. if he is a law-abiding american citizen, can pass a background check, i will support you, you can fight to the nth degree to defend your rights, but for the purpose this guy has against americans, absolutely not. that's what we're asking. madam president, our legislation
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shuts him down. it stops him cold in his tracks. if al qaeda's enthusiasm for gun show sales isn't chilling enough, you have to read today's "new york times" article about how easy it is for criminals to buy and sell guns on the internet. not only is it quick and easy, it's anonymous. you don't have any idea who you're dealing with. one of the people in the article describes these internet sales as a gun show that never ends. a gun show that never ends. and i would add he says never closes. because the internet is 24/7. the internet is a vast marketplace for guns. in 2000, the department of justice estimated that 80 online firearm option sites and approximately 4,000 other sites offer guns for sale. politburo -- mr. manchin: this was more than a dozen years. mr. manchin: the online market
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may now exceed gun shows in terms of sales volume, and we all know how we're using our technology more and more every day for our personal lives and how we defend on it. for example, the national shooting sports foundation surveyed owners of modern sporting rifles in 2010 and found that 10% of them, 10% of all rifles sold had purchased their firearms at gun shows, whereas 25% had purchased them online. 25%. believe me, i understand the political stakes for my colleagues and i sympathize. i have been there. i understand it. and comes from states like west virginia, and no state has a higher regard for the second amendment rights to bear arms than my state. in fact, on the great seal of the state of west virginia, the preamble is montani sember liberai. in latin, that means mountaineers are always free. you know how we feel.
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one of the review states that became a state during the civil war, broke away from virginia at that time. but west virginians are also guided by a little common sense. i have said this. in west virginia, we know what nonsense is, we know what common sense is, and now we know what gun sense is, and that's all we're asking for, and i'm proud of all of my west virginians. when they read our legislation, they understand that all we are doing is using common sense to protect the safety of the public, especially our kids and at the same time protect the second amendment rights to bear arms. john adams once said, madam president, facts are stubborn things. facts are stubborn things. it's just hard. it's hard. and i'm pretty stubborn myself, as i know, madam president, you are, and all of our colleagues. if we weren't, we wouldn't be here. so i'm going to go through our legislation again and tell you what is the myth out there and what is the fact about our
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legislation. let's start with the myth that the n.r.a. is repeating to their members. let's start with that. here's the myth. this legislation will require background checks and when a gun owner sells, loans or gives a firearm to a relative, neighbor or a friend, they're going to prohibit that from happening. that's what they are saying this legislation does. here's the fact. current law exempts such transfers from background checks, and our bill does nothing to change that, nothing to change that. you can loan your hunting rifle to your buddy without any new restrictions or requirements, or you can give or sell a gun to your brother, your sister, your cousin, your uncle, your co-worker without a background check. you can post a gun for sale on the court bull -- cork bulletin board in your workplace or on your church bulletin board without a background check. we're not going to do anything to turn law-abiding gun owners into criminals, which is what they want you to believe any
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legislation, and our legislation, mine and senator toomey's and senator kirk's and schumer's would do. it doesn't do that. there's another myth. nothing in this legislation would have prevented or will prevent any tragic mass shootings in the future. madam president, i know that you were visited by the families, as most of our colleagues were, from newtown. a most -- most difficult time. not one of us ever asked us to take the guns away. not one of those families ever asked us to repeal the second amendment. they never infringed on any of that. and most of them to a t said i know this wouldn't have saved my baby. i know this law today that you're working on would not have saved my baby. they know that. they said maybe we can save somebody else's baby. that's all. but let me tell you, this bill has a component called the commission on mass violence because as you go around and you talk to the children throughout the schools of your state respectfully, i have been all
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over west virginia, this generation has been desensitized to the violence that you and i grew up being scared to death of. they have been desensitized. they can get on a video game and see things we can never imagine. so this commission on mass violence is put together by people with expertise that can tell us about guns when a person says oh, i think that gun ought to be banned, wait a minute, that's my hunting rifle. it might look a little different but it doesn't shoot any different. you might not know about it, so don't ban that gun until you know. so this commission basically puts the expertise of guns and gun people who can explain to you and then make an informed decision. this piece of legislation, the mass commission on mass violence puts together people with expertise and mental illness. i go to the grade schools, i go to the kindergartens, since this first happened at newtown, and you know what they tell me? they say senator, i can identify a child that has problems.
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i can identify a child that comes from a home with problems. they have mental, mental challenges. they need help, and i have got nowhere to go. i have got nowhere to send them to to them. they had no insurance, they have no type of help or support. we can fix that. but you have to listen to the people that understand mental illness. and then on top of that, this is a sad scenario because if we would have had a commission on mass violence and that commission would come back and part of that commission says that school safety -- as a governor, and i know as an official in your state, we built a lot of schools, we have remodeled a lot of schools. not one time, madam president, did an architect ever come to me and say, "governor, we've got to put bulletproof glass on all first floors of our schools." bulletproof glass. now, think about this. adam lanza shot out the front door and stuck his arm through it and opened up the door to get
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into that school. it was locked down. most of the schools now have locks on them. most of classrooms have locks. but if you can shoot the glass out and stick your arm in and open the door, what goo i what ? we would have never thought that, never thought about that. and if we could have done that, maybe, just maybe, we could have prevented this horrible tragedy. i don't know. but the families aren't asking to look back. they're just asking to look forward. they're saying, there could be another child, there could be another massacre, there -- can we stop it. i don't say this bill's a panacea, but if i can stop one crazy person, if i can stop one criminal who has nothing but hatred and harm to intent to inflict on other people, if i can do that, i've done my job. i think i have, i can go home. as one of the newtown parents, francine wheeler said, please
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help us do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy. it's so compelling, it really is. our bill will ensure that the states get their records up to speed. the n.r.a. was correct. they said, hey, you haven't done your job. and i agree with you, we didn't. but we're going to. often said, you can either throw the baby out with the bath water or you can change the water. and i intend to make a change, and that's all i'm asking. our bill is going to prevent felons, it's going to prevent this guy and people like this guy from just going to the gun show like a supermarket and getting whatever they want to get to do harm to us. we won't stop them all. if we can slow them down, we might have saved an american's life. our amendment's -- another myth to the national registry, and i just talked about it so many times, that can't happen. section 122 of this bill, prohibition of a national gun
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registry. section 923 of title 18, united states code, is amended by adding, from our bill, "the attorney general may not consolidate or centralize the records of the acquisition of deposition of firearms or any portion thereof maintained by a person with a violent current license under the chapter and an unlicensed transfer under this section. possession or ownership of firearm maintained by any medical or health insurance entity." it goes on and on. and all i've asked for, madam president, is for everyone to please read the bill. i don't know what the outcome will be today. i know we're close and i know it's a tough decision. i know that. i feel good. i feel that i'm here for this purpose. i feel that i'm willing to walk in anywhere somebody would send me and speak the facts. as, again, i said i've never seen a perfect bill. i'm sure that we can even improve on this. but i will tell you,
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madam president, everybody, everybody was asked for input, no matter what side of the fence you were on on the gun issue, you were asked for input. whether you came from an organization representing millions of people, i wanted your input. whether you came from a person who wanted to ban everything, i wanted your input. and then they were able to come together, say, if i'm a law-abiding citizen, then let me exercise my rights as a law-abiding citizen. that second amendment is very, very cherished to us and very sacred in west virginia, as it is in north dakota and everywhere else. we made sure that the culture that we grew up with is protected and enhanced upon. we made sure of that. and i can go in any -- i can go in any group in america and show them. and when they see the facts, they'll agree. i've been there. i know it happens. now, so i'll finally just say, if you're a law-abiding citizen and you're a law-abiding gun owner and you want to be treated
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and looked upon as a respected, law-abiding citizen and gun owner, this bill does it for you. if you believe that we should be able to treat our veterans better than we have, because veterans today, if they're just evaluated by a v.a. court, if you will, and determined that that's just not right, they could be put on the nics list immediately. we have a 30-day period that every veteran coming out that might have some challenges -- and god only praise those men and women who've sacrificed so much and what -- what it's done to their lives. we owe them everything and we owe them right to be able to live as a law-abiding citizen, to get back into the mainstream of america without having to fight for the rights. this bill does that for vetera veterans. this bill does that. we notify 150,000 veterans, we notify 150,000 veterans that might be on the nics system and
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don't even know they're on it and give them that 30-day reprieve -- repeal period. we do that in this bill. so if -- if you want to really honor a veteran, if you want to thank them for their services and make sure they're treated with the utmost respect, this bill does that. if you're a criminal, if you have been deemed to be mentally incompetent through a court, you're probably not going to like the bill. i'm the first to tell you that, i'm sorry, you're not going to like it. but i'm not going to make any excuses because i don't think you want guns for the right reason anyway, so i hope i can keep them from you. that's what i would say, i hope i can keep them from you. i hope you can't go down with our al qaeda person over here who's an american turned as a terrorist and go with him and buy a gun, i just hope you can't do it at a gun show. i hope you can't get on the internet so they don't know who you are, what you look like or what your intentions are and buy a gun. i'd like to maybe find out if i could stop you. so i plead guilty to that, if that's what it is.
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i would. but i'm proud of the work we've done. i'm proud of all of you. and i know you all have to make a decision and i respect that. i would say, i don't think never in our -- never in our life has it -- has a bill come together with so many pieces of it and so much involvement and input that took the -- that took the consideration of law-abiding gun owners, like myself and you, and so many of us in this body, and respected that and enforced it and also the respect of our veterans and fix that, the respect that the government hasn't done its job but could do a better job and make them do it, and the ability to keep a manner that shouldn't have a gun strictly at a commercial transaction. i don't know of any bill that we've had before us or that we might have again that would do it all. and with that, i would say that
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it's been a pleasure to work with all of my senators on this -- and they've worked hard. i know that it's -- it's not going to go away. whatever happens today will happen. i feel that -- that we've done a good job and -- and i just ask my colleagues to consider this before we vote sometime this afternoon and make sure that they feel good and comfortable and can go home and defend the position. that's all. everybody has to do that. and we have to respect that. we have to respect that. and i do. so with that, madam president, i would -- i would yield the floor and i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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